A few years ago, when I was the owner of a failing business, I recall how I used to wake up in the mornings full of anxiety and stress. I would immediately run to the toilet to empty my bowels as my body was reacting to this anxiety by getting in fight or flight mode.
Mondays were the worst days of the week, as that was when I had to face a new week of barely any bookings. I was facing the uphill task of yet another week of chasing up old clients in the hope that they will come back, or quickly finding new clients, having barely given them the opportunity to get to know, like and trust my business.
Needless to say that unless something extraordinary happened, such as a client unexpectedly booking a course of treatments providing me with some welcome cashflow, this anxious, low mood continued throughout the week. It was slightly improving on Sundays, only to immediately deteriorate the day after.
I eventually turned around the way I feel by getting rid of the business, and investing time in taking control of my mood and developing better habits, but this process took its time. One of the things I learned, is the importance of setting the scene early on in the day. This can only be accomplished when you have spent some time setting compelling goals about what you want to achieve, and when you have taken the time to check that these goals are fully aligned to your values and purpose.
Starting the day with the right intentions helps you to take control of your feelings and steer your mood in the direction you want. People often focus their energy on how particular days of the week make them feel (such as Mondays in my example), anchoring negative feelings and emotions on these days. As a result, their unconscious mind and bodies are anticipating the creation of these negative emotions on these days, perpetuating the negative, low mood that accompanies such feelings.
Julia Ross, a pioneer in the field of nutritional psychology, calls this type of moods false moods in her book ‘The Mood Cure’ and differentiates them from true emotions: True emotions are genuine responses to the real difficulties we encounter in life. They typically pass, or diminish naturally, and even when they get repressed or misdirected, they can usually be relieved through counseling. But when we suffer for no justifiable reason; when the pain of a broken heart doesn’t mend like a broken bone; when rest, psychotherapy, prayer, and meditation can make little impact—then we must suspect the emotional impostor, the meaningless biochemical error—the “false mood.”
According to the author, the primary cause of these false moods lies in the wiring of our brain, our so-called neurotransmitters: Our brain is responsible for most of our feelings, both true and false. In alignment with some areas of our heart and gut, it transmits our feelings through four highly specialized and potent kinds of mood molecules. If it has plenty of all four, it keeps you as happy as you can possibly be, given your particular life circumstances. But if your brain runs low on these mood transmitters—whether because of a minor genetic miscue, because it’s used them up coping with too much stress, or because you aren’t eating the specific foods it needs—it stops producing normal emotions on a consistent basis. Instead, it starts hitting false emotional notes, like a piano out of tune.
Taking control of your mind and behaviour now will help you eradicate these false moods. A combination of setting purposeful intentions, being clear about your identity (I am not my mood), starting your day by setting goals that are aligned to your values and purpose and enjoying a balanced nutrition, will help you stay on top of your mood.